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“Yeah, I’m pretty fed up with my job, but I only have to stick it out another year and then I
get long service leave.”
You’ve probably heard someone say some version of these words at some point. But the
truth is that long service leave is an overrated perk and there are a handful of factors that
are significantly more important.

1. Your base pay

Does your employer reward hard work and good performance with pay reviews at regular
intervals? Do you feel your salary is fair relative to the same role at a competitor? If the
answer to either of these questions is ‘no’, then long service leave very quickly becomes

If you’re feeling like you’ve paid a “loyalty tax” for staying at your company for too long,
then maybe it’s time to canvas other opportunities.

2. How happy are you?

If you’re miserable in your role and simply sticking it out because you’re hanging out for
long service leave, then it’s definitely time to move on. Satisfaction with your day-to-day
tasks is far more important than suffering through just to get a couple of extra months of
paid leave (NB: the amount of long service leave and the length of time you have to be
employed at a company in order to receive it vary from state to state. For the purpose of
this article, let’s assume the NSW entitlement – which is 8.67 weeks after 10 years with the
same employer).

3. There are other ways to get a long holiday

Do you have a contract in place with your employer? Does it have a non-compete period? If
you are unhappy with your job and you choose to move to a similar role with a competitor,
there’s every chance that your employer will be forced to put you on “gardening leave” for
the duration of your non-compete period. In other words, this could be a free holiday!
Another thing to keep in mind is that many companies are now offering a week of extra
leave every year for people that use up their annual leave entitlements. Some companies
also allow you to negotiate extra time off if you need an extended break – and yes, this
would be ‘leave without pay’, but it might still be a handy perk to leverage if the leave time
is more important to you than the money.

Some people stay in the same job for long stretches of over a decade because they’re happy
and their employer looks after them. But others stay purely for the convenience, or because
resigning is stressful and they have a fear of the unknown. If you’re consistently
overworked, underpaid or disrespected, it’s time to start looking elsewhere. Hanging out for
service leave just isn’t worth it.